Issuu on Google+

50 years of Making a Difference Opportunities for Otsego marks legacy of service

DENISE RICHARDSON | The Daily Star

Beth Feldman of Oneonta paints the wall on West Street on Wednesday, April 27, for her employer, Opportunities for Otsego, which was advertising ongoing enrollment for Head Start and Early Head Start programs for children.

Editor’s note: The following was provided by Opportunities for Otsego.  Opportunities for Otsego is celebrating 50 years of making a difference this July. Born out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America’s War on Poverty, Opportunities for Otsego is one of over 1,000 Community Action Agencies across the United States that help people achieve self-sufficiency. Community Action Agencies serve 96 percent of the nation’s counties; Opportunities for Otsego serves all 1,016 square miles of Otsego County. Through extensive partnerships and a comprehensive network of services, Opportunities for Otsego assists more than 8,000 people annually. The agency operates some of the earliest programs created in conjunction with the Economic Opportunity Act, such as Head Start and Weatherization, and has added programs throughout the years to address identified community needs. Opportunities for Otsego is based in Oneonta but, offers services throughout all of Otsego County through a dozen satellite offices and homebased programs. Agency services are sustained by a variety of federal, state and local resources and the generosity of the community. Despite fiscal uncertainty brought by fluctuations in funding over the past 50 years, Opportunities for Otsego has been able to maintain core services. The impact of flat and reduced funding has been minimized in part to the innovative thinking of staff and board members, and the actions of the community to devise solutions. In 2009, Opportunities for Otsego was in the unique position to receive timelimited funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The See OPPORTUNITIES, Page 2

BOARD OF DIRECTORS „ Bryce Frederick, president „ Sita Fey, vice president „ Dr. Benjamin Friedell, secretary „ David Merzig, treasurer

BOARD:

George Brown Dan Buttermann Alan Donovan Craig Gelbsman Janice Hinkley Melinda Murdock Jennifer O’Donnell Tim Parsons Carol Sprague Susan Turell Ana Vendemmia Randall Wilson Lorrie Wolverton

Opportunities for Otsego Board of Director meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held at the main office on 3 West Broadway in Oneonta, the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. Meetings in July and August are to be determined.


22

XXX

MONDAY,JULY JULY 25, MONDAY, 25,2016 2016

THEDAILY DAILY STAR STAR THE

OPPORTUNITIES... „ Continued from Page 1

purpose of these funds was to expand and enhance programming to support economic recovery. One project originated with these funds is Energy Opportunities; a fee-for-service division of Opportunities for Otsego’s energy department that offers home energy conservation services to the general public. This program remains in operation and has become a model program for Community Action Agencies across New York state. 

HEADING THE AGENCY Opportunities for Otsego’s first Executive Director was Alva Welch, who served from 1966 until 1980. His predecessors include William Harper (1980-1985), Cheri Albrecht (1985-2005), and Daniel Maskin, the current Chief Executive Officer.  Daniel Maskin has a long history with Opportunities for Otsego. His first role dates back to the 80s when he served as a school motivation counselor. Dan moved up the ranks to become community services director and eventually the director of the Violence Intervention Program before leaving in November 1999 to serve as Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Community Action Association. Dan returned to Opportunities for Otsego in July 2005 to begin his tenure as CEO. To ensure the voice and the needs of the low-income sector are heard, Dan serves on the City of Oneonta Planning Commission, the Prevent Child Abuse New York Board of Directors, the New York State Department of State Community Services Block Grant Advisory Council, and the New York State Community Action Association Board of Directors. Opportunities for Otsego is connected to other community action agencies by a national network that includes the national, regional, and state associations, a national lobbying organization, and a national association of Community Service Block Grant administrators. Opportunities for Otsego also works closely with sister Community Action Agencies in neighboring counties including Delaware Opportunities; Opportunities for Chenango; Schoharie County Community Action Program; Fulmont Community Action; Community Action Partnership for Madison County; and Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency.

JULIE LEWIS | The Daily Star

Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, left, listens as Opportunities for Otsego CFO Tanya Shaylor speaks during a meeting with staff and board members at OFO in Oneonta on Aug. 24, 2015.

Opportunities for Otsego is connected to other community action agencies by a national network that includes the national, regional, and state associations, a national lobbying organization, and a national association of Community Service Block Grant administrators. perfect applications in the hope of receiv-

education and referrals, Opportunities for

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COMMUNITY

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Opportunities for Otsego board of directors is responsible for assuring that the agency not only meets all federal and state requirements but also provides high-quality services responsive to changing community needs. By federal mandate, Community Action Agencies are required to have a tripartite board of directors. This board composition is unique in that one-third of board membership must represent low-income individuals and families; one-third elected officials or their representatives; and onethird from the private sector. The purpose of this composition is to ensure full community participation in the development, planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs to serve low-income families. The current executive board of Opportunities for Otsego board of directors is Bryce Fredrick (president); Sita Fey (vice president); Dr. Benjamin Friedell (secretary); and David Merzig (treasurer). Past board presidents include: Warren Ryther (1966-1968); Cassius Pealer (19681970); Irene Mozolewski (1970-1972); Donald F. Lynd (1972-1974); Father John Sise (19741976); Sam Wilcox (1976-1977); Reverend Robert Allen (1977-1979); Edward Griesmer (1979-1980); John Insetta (1980-1971); Laurence Shaffer (1981-1984); Janet Mahler (1984-1987); Dr. Robert E. Mansback (19871991); Katherine O’Connell (1991-1993); Patti Hammond-Moss (1994-1995); Gail Baden (1996 and 1999); Anne C. Federlein (19971999); John S. Nader (2000-2004); Maggie Barnes (2004-2008); and Dr. Alan Donovan (2008-2015).

SERVICES AND STAFF Opportunities for Otsego employs over 170 people to provide direct services and administrative support to programs. Many employees are native to Otsego County and the majority live within its bounds. Opportunities for Otsego is proud to employ individuals who once benefitted from its services, including past WIC participants, recipients of emergency services, and Head Start children and parents. Opportunities for Otsego is also very proud of its dedicated staff. During the 2016 annual staff appreciation day, the agency recognized seven employees who have been working for Opportunities for Otsego for thirty or more years. One employee commented that her first day at Opportunities for Otsego was the same day that Ronald Reagan won the presidential election. Opportunities for Otsego staffs provide a variety of essential services to the community: child care workers ensure children are well taken care of so parents can maintain employment; home visiting staff help geographically isolated families feel connected and provide critical linkages to community supports; breastfeeding counselors offer sympathetic and nonjudgmental advice when parents are having trouble feeding their newborn; energy crews ensure the health and safety of homeowners by replacing faulty equipment and installing energyefficient measures; and shelter staff stay up throughout the night and work on weekends and holidays to ensure people in crisis have immediate access the services they need. Behind the scenes, administrative staff provide support critical to program operations: reception greets visitors and callers and directs them to appropriate resources; facility staff ensure buildings are clean, free from hazards, and meet all regulatory codes; finance staff process hundreds of payments each week to ensure the agency maintains a healthy bottom line; data entry clerks key in information so managers can demonstrate client success and positive program outcomes; grant writers strive to

or in an administrative function, is that, every day, you make a difference.

ing funding to sustain programming; and supervisors remain on-call to ensure that their staff have the support necessary to best meet the needs of families.

WORKING AT OFO Working at Opportunities for Otsego has its challenges but offers many rewards. Agency staff often encounter people at the lowest points in their lives. It could be someone who is cold and hungry because they recently loss their job; or a child stricken with dental caries and the family does not have the means to obtain medical care; or a terrified victim of violence who must immediately flee an abusive situation. Despite these seemingly hopeless situations, the staff at Opportunities for Otsego are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and eagerly partner with families to address their challenges together. Through emotional support, advocacy, accompaniment, emergency assistance,

ABOUT Could notTHIS find SECTION tdsOFOaboutbox Focus on Opportunities for Otsego is a publication of The Daily Star in partnership with OFO in recognition of the agency’s 50 years of service to the Otsego County community. Publisher: Fred Scheller The Daily Star Editor: Sam Pollak Photos provided by Opportunities for Otsego, and from The Daily Star files

Otsego helps families identify their own strengths to overcome barriers. It could take days or even years, but there is no greater reward than having a role in helping an unemployed Veteran secure employment and move into their own place; or seeing a child who once had trouble tolerating cold food now bite into an apple; or knowing a survivor of domestic violence is safe and has found a partner for whom they are equal. One guarantee of working at Opportunities for Otsego, whether as a direct service staff

In addition to making a difference in the lives of individuals in Otsego County, Opportunities for Otsego has a positive influence on the community. Agency staff participate in many local and regional advisory committees and bring awareness of pertinent issues to Otsego County. Opportunities for Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program was a key player in opening the Otsego County Child Advocacy Center in 2006 and now serves as a member on its multidisciplinary team to address sexual violence. These staffs are also involved in Otsego County Drug Treatment Court, collaborate with area universities to address relationship violence, and coordinate the annual Take Back the Night March. Initiated through a federal oral health grant, Head Start has taken a leadership role in the in addressing early childhood dental health. The program has developed partnerships with the SUNY Broome Dental Hygiene department, The Smile Lodge of Clifton Park, and Dr. Paul Weber of Fly Creek to conduct oral health screenings and coordinate treatment for identified dental concerns. The emergency housing department at Opportunities for Otsego is a member of the Coalition for the Homeless of the Southern Tier and partners closely with the local Department of Social Services to prevent homelessness. Opportunities for Otsego is also a resource to the community. The agency provides education to various community groups, including sister non-profit organizations, Leadership Otsego students, and the New York State Police Academy. Agency staff have also shared their expertise on various topics at state and regional conferences. In 2011, Opportunities for Otsego published its first comprehensive Community Needs Assessment, which summarized the strengths and needs of Otsego County. This document served as a repository of data and quickly became a tool for organizations and municipalities to guide strategic planning. Opportunities for Otsego also shares its resources by providing office space to the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Mother and Babies Perinatal Network, and the Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center so they may provide services within Otsego County.

OUR FUTURE

Opportunities for Otsego works each day to put itself out of business; as if that occurs they would have successfully eradicated poverty and solved the injustices in our community. Until that time, Opportunities for Otsego will continue to collaborate with the community to develop innovative strategies to meet the needs of the low-income families and those needing an extra hand to get them through the rough patches of life. 

Cooperstown Natural Foods Organic Produce • Organic Meats Natural Supplements Natural Health and Beauty Aids Many Gluten-free and Casein-free Foods Vegan Ingredients Galore Specialty/Gourmet Items OPEN 10AM - 6PM MONDAY-FRIDAY; SAT. 9-2PM 61 LINDEN AVE., COOPERSTOWN, NY 13326

(607) 547-8613

318914


THE DAILY STAR

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

3

VIP gives hope to survivors Kay Deflumere has been using the Violence Intervention Program from Opportunities for Otsego after a domestic violence incident two years ago. Deflumere said, “Two years ago, on March 7, I was involved in a domestic violence situation with my now ex-husband.” Deflumere was referred to the program by the police after the incident, and has been using VIP ever since. “I started meeting with my counselor, Ashley. She started teaching me to not blame myself and helped me begin to understand domestic violence,” said Deflumere. “I’ve gotten constant support from Ashley, and my court advocate has been Allison. Ashley really helped to finalize thought processes I was having. I just remember being cross-examined in court, and Allison was right there with me. I was able to focus on Allison, and she really helped me wade through the paperwork. VIP provided me with information on what my rights were.” VIP has also helped Deflumere’s daughter. “I had a 14-year-old daughter and she receives counseling through school when school is in session, but when school is out, she still needs counseling, and VIP provides that counseling for her,” she said.  Deflumere’s daughter has been struggling with PTSD since the incident, and VIP has helped her, Deflumere said.  “They’ve helped tremendously with my daughter’s P TSD, and we’ve been working in mother daughter group sessions and she’s been opening up a lot more,” Deflumere added. “She has even since spoken at a Take Back The Night event. They’ve really helped me raise my daughter to the absolutely wonderful individual that she is.” Before this, Deflumere had only worked part time and VIP referred her to programs that would help her

become more self sufficient like Wheels to Work and the soup kitchen. Now, she is working full-time.  “I have more confidence, and I don’t blame myself anymore,” Deflumere said. “My daughter and I are a power team, and we have that support system behind us from VIP.” VIP proDeflumere vides information to help any man or woman coming out of this situation. “In a domestic violence situation, you feel alone, but these people will help you,” explained Deflumere. “They bring a lot of people together who have been through these situations and provide a lot of information on domestic violence.” According to Deflumere, there is also a safe house for the people that feel uncomfortable going home. VIP’s flexibility allowed for comprehensive support. According to Deflumere, she was able to pull up outside, walk in and say ‘I need help now,’ and they offered help. ���It’s a warm, giving atmosphere. They really mean the absolute world to me,” she said. “This was my first chance to talk about VIP, and they have been tremendous for me,” Deflumere said. “It can be difficult to express how much this program has meant to me. Anyone in a domestic violence situation can hook up with VIP. With most violence, you cannot know when the next bad day is coming, and you don’t have to use them every day, but they’re there any time you need them.” “VIP has helped me in so many ways, they are my friends, my family and my support group,” added Deflumere. “They have celebrated every advance that i have made through this procedure, and they have cried with me through every heartache.”

SUSAN MCLEAN

From left, emergency housing staffers Lisa Van Tassel, Jahaira Liz, Nancy Chapin and Toya Bowdin pose for a photo on July 14.

Housing program offers a ‘hand up’

By SuSan McLean Contributing Writer

Opportunities for Otsego offers an Emergency Housing program to support the community. Toya Bowden, residential supervisor of the program, has helped many people in transitional periods find housing, temporarily, and eventually permanently. Bowden described the temporary housing as “an eight-room, 18-bed temporary shelter.” The Emergency Housing program primarily caters to people struggling. “We house people who have fallen on difficult times,” Bowden explained. “People become homeless for various reasons, physical and/ or mental health issues, job loss, family

breakup, victims of fire and eviction to name a few reasons.” Michael Mayfield is one such person. “In October of last year, I was staying with friends but they weren’t allowed to have anyone else on their lease, and since I have no family here, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Mayfield said. “The program helped me from day one. They put me up in a hotel that night, but it wasn’t a good place, and eventually there was an opening (at the shelter).” After swift intervention from Opportunities for Otsego’s Emergency Housing program, Mayfield got back on his feet. The Emergency Housing program gave him information about housing right away and has

WIC program supports healthy families

Toya helped me a lot,” Mayfield said. “Ms. Toya gave me the list of apartments, and the first one I went to is where I’m living right now. They initially didn’t have an opening, this other guy was going to get the place, but he never showed up, so I got it.” The program provides assistance across many other areas as well, including other housingrelated costs, as well as transportation. “Our ... program will assist the guest in paying security and rent and helps the guest to re-establish themselves a viable member of the community.” Bowden added, “We also offer a Wheels to Work program that help clients with transportation issues.” See HOUSING, Page 4

March 4, 2015

OFO tapped for Chamber’s inaugural ‘Quality of Life’ award

By SuSan McLean Contributing Writer

The Women, Infants and Children program at Opportunities for Otsego specializes in supplementing the diets of prenatal, postnatal, postpartum, breastfeeding women, infants and children up to 5. Mary Gilkinson is the WIC program manager and has been with Opportunities for Otsego since 1986. According to Gilkinson, the program “provides a lot of information to our participants that allow them to improve their diets, featuring foods that support growth and development.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the federal program, WIC provides mothers

stuck with him through the whole process. “Here at Opportunity House, we try to help families and individuals who need a hand up, not necessarily a hand out,” explained Bowden. “We offer assistance in finding housing, finding jobs and act as a liaison at times between different agencies.” According to Opportunities for Otsego, the program “provides comprehensive, g o a l - fo c u s e d s e r v i c e s to at-risk and homeless households to promote retention and maintenance of safe, stable, affordable housing, access to support services and provides individualized, integrated case management.” Mayfield echoed that mission. “Ms. Nancy and Ms.

SUSAN MCLEAN

From left, Opportunities for Otsego chief executive officer Dan Maskin poses for a photo with Mary Gilkinson, Maryann Anderson, Kathy Hoyle and Heather Brown of the WIC program. and families with checks or vouchers to purchase specific foods, such as eggs, milk, cheese, beans, whole grains and cereal. Locally, the program serves 975 people, including through OFO’s mobile

outreach sites in Cherry Valley, Richfield Springs, and Cooperstown. “The program has a long and welldocumented history of helping young families,” Gilkinson added. “There See WIC, Page 4

The recipient of the new “Quality of Life Award,” given by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, set the standard for future contenders, said Barbara Ann Heegan, Cchamber president. Opportunities for Otsego will be presented with the award today at Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. “I am truly impressed with their services,” Heegan said. “They have paved the way for this new award.” According to Dan Maskin, director of Opportunities for Otsego, the nonprofit serves more than 5,000 individuals a year in unduplicated

services that range from help with heating and insulation to helping victims of violent crimes. “We are so honored that we were chosen,” Maskin said. “There are a lot of different areas we serve. There are so many different problems and issues. They all present particular challenges.” According to its website, Opportunities for Otsego works “to encourage economic stability, social justice, and the promotion of healthy lives and families.” The agency offers services that include prenatal See AWARD, Page 4

JOIN US FOR CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY!!

Join us every first Saturday of the month for Customer Appreciation Day to meet Reps and receive Free Samples! Invite your friends to get a Customer Card.

♥ Our friendly & knowledgable staff is willing to help you each & every day. ♥ ❋ Explore our Cafe Menu! We cater to: Vegetarians, Vegans, Celiacs, Raw Foodists, & More! ❋

4 Market Street Oneonta, NY Store & Cafe Hours Available on website www.greenearthoneonta.com

607-432-6600

OPEN DAILY

10% OFF on Customer Appreciation Day


4

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

WIC...

„ Continued from Page 3 are fewer pre-term babies, healthier weight babies, healthier children and better prepared children for preschool. The program really makes an impact on the lives we serve. For every $1 spent on WIC, $3 are saved on medical expenses.” Gilkinson explained that frequently, babies are born that need special types of formula, but it’s difficult for young families to afford what their children need. “The program provides assistance so that the babies can get the nutrition they need,” said Gilkinson. WIC also provides infant formula, and OFO supports breastfeeding mothers with counseling and support,

THE DAILY STAR enhanced nutritional support and the use of hospital-grade electric pumps, according to OFO’s website. According to Gilkinson, WIC works by focusing on children’s nutritional needs and helps parents learn how to best take care of their children and get everyone’s needs met. The program also provides referrals to other agencies like SNAP and food banks. “Generally, the response is very good. One of the things I’ve valued about working here is that we’re working with our neighbors, our classmates, Gilkinson mused. “It’s a really nice program, and we have a good bunch of people working here. We see parents leave feeling good about themselves and their parenting skills, and that’s beautiful.”

AWARD...

HOUSING...

„ Continued from Page 3 Mayfield has been working and is back on his feet. “I found my job on my own, but they have this huge list of employers that they update with new openings all the time,” Mayfield said of the shelter. “I work at the Oneonta Walmart, and recently I even got a promotion. I’m a support manager.” M ay f i e l d ex p r e s s e d extreme gratitude for the program, repeating how much they did for him. “They try to set people up for success, and I’m so thankful,” Mayfield added, noting that he often sees shelter staff at Wal-Mart and has kept in touch. OFO’s programs go beyond simply finding housing for people. According to Bowden, “The program assists eligible clients in paying for car repairs, driver’s courses and the purchase of vehicles through monetary grants. The client is only responsible to pay back a small portion of the loan.” Mayfield elaborated, saying, “They always make sure you have what you need to take care of yourself. There

are even programs about healthy eating, and how to make food last longer.” In addition to being helped by OFO, Mayfield says he has witnessed the program’s impact on others. “I’ve seen a lot of people who went through the program and are doing well now, like me. I’m not the only one they’ve helped,” Mayfield mused. “I don’t know what would have happened to me if it hadn’t been for the program. It was a bad situation, and it was October and winter was coming.” After working with the program, many feel very bittersweet. “Many who leave the shelter, leave with mixed emotions,” Bowden added. “They are happy to have a place of their own, but sad to leave the other guests and staff that they have established founding relationships with.” Mayfield reflected on the whole process, “Emotionally, it was really draining, and I didn’t know what to do, but they really inspired me. They made me believe it was possible to get back up.” After a pause, he added “I’m just really grateful for them, for helping me out of that situation.”

„ Continued from Page 3

and infant care and classes, early childhood education, child care for court dates, emergency heating and weatherization of dwellings, emergency housing, transportation to work, addiction and other counseling services, and victim support. Opportunities for Otsego offers those services and programs to qualifying residents of Otsego County. Whereas some of the services are needsbased, associated with income, many of the services are not needs-based, including victim services. “When we have victims of domestic violence coming through the program, they are looking at a lot of changes,” Maskin said. “Sometimes these people are starting completely over and sometimes they have children. There are so many different issues associated with victim services.” Maskin credits the board of directors and his employees for making a difference in the community. “My team is focused on providing the best

THANK YOU O.F.O. FOR YOUR AMAZING ROLE IN SERVING OUR COMMUNITY!

Donald Benson CPA/CFP® Certified Public Accountant

• Corporate & Personal Taxation • Estate & Financial Planning • Retirement Planning • Accounting Services 28 Oneida St Oneonta, NY 13820

CPA

Specializing in: Closely Held Businesses & High Net Worth Individuals • Reviews & Compilations • Small Business Consulting • Family Wealth Preservation

DonaldBensonCPA.com

FILE

The exterior of the Opportunities for Otsego office building is shown in March 2015. services possible and we have an outstanding board of directors,” Maskin said. “The board sets policy, raises money and gives me guidance.” O F O e m p l oys a b o u t 150 people full time and about 15 part time. There are between 20 and 30 temporary and substitute employees at any given time, according to Maskin. “We are honored to be the first ones to win this award,” said Alan Donovan, president of the OFO board of directors. “We have an excellent board of directors — they represent many different sectors, and we have a wonderful staff. On behalf of the board I congratulate Dan and his staff. Day in and day out, they serve this community tirelessly. They see between 5,000 and 6,000 people every year.” Donovan said the agency has a strong advocacy and outreach program that reaches many different people throughout Otsego County. According to Donovan, the agency serves about 10 percent of the county’s population. “Our biggest challenge is the budget,” Maskin said.

“The resources dwindle, and it is hard to provide the same services without the resources.” OFO has been providing service in Otsego County since 1966, having been established as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” While the services have changed as the needs of the community changed, the mission to develop innovative solutions to problems affecting Otsego County has not changed. In achieving this end, Opportunities For Otsego partners with other state and national agencies to help eradicate poverty and promote self-sufficiency in communities in Otsego County. The agency’s “Building Healthy Families” program, for pregnant women and new parents, helps new families bond and develop a budget of both time and money, as well as creating a health and education plan. OFO also participates in the federal Home Energy Assistance Program, providing help with heating bills and energy efficiency services, as well as the federal WIC program, offering nutritional information, supplemental food

and health care referrals to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children. The agency offers housing and employment services including emergency housing to homeless individuals and families, and reliable transportation assistance to working adults. OFO’s Violence Intervention Program provides a long list of services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and violent crimes. In addition to housing and counseling, this program has trained court advocates who help victims navigate the legal system. According to Heegan, Opportunities For Otsego is an agency that personifies the Quality of Life Award. “They have made a significant impact through their services,” Hegan said. “They are enhancing the quality of life in Otsego County.” The criteria for the newly-established Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Quality of Life Award includes a person or agency that has enhanced the quality of life in Otsego County. Heegan said there were about 10 nominations for the award.

Sixth Ward Athletic Club Oneonta’s only hometown social & service organization Congratulations Opportunities for Otsego on

Donald Benson, CPA/CFP®

50

DBensonCPA@stny.rr.com

607-432-3775

Rent Our Back Room

Years of Service!!

Check out our new Sixth Ward Athletic Club Foundation

Restaurant & Lounge at Cobleskill Golf & Country Club

Great Burgers, Steaks, Seafood & More!

PRIME RIB & KING CRAB Every Friday

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK LUNCH 11am - 5pm

DINNER

Available for Private Parties

Mon.-Thurs. 5pm-9pm Fri.& Sat. 5pm-10pm Sun. 5pm-9pm

Public Welcome!

518-254-0275

2322 Route 7 • Cobleskill • www.cobleskillgc.com Check us out and view our menu on Facebook

Santa stops to see all the ward children & has a special gift for each child

22 West Broadway Oneonta, NY 13820

Annual Ani Colone food drive being delivered to the local food pantry

607-436-9136 Sixthwardaa.com


THE DAILY STAR

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

From the

Scrapbook

ded The r Otsego provi fo s ie it n u rt o m the p Op scrapbooks fro l ra ve se h it w lights Daily Star e are some high er H . ry to is h ’s agency 0 years: from the past 5

FULL SCHEDULE AUGUST 2 - 7, 2016

http://www.otsegocountyfair.org MONDAY, AUGUST 1 BEFORE THE FAIR OPENS 6:30PM - 20th Annual Otsego County Fair Hymn Sing & Special Music at the Grandstand

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4 GILLETTE SHOWS PAY-ONE-PRICE 5 - 10 PM Grandstand Events 7:00 PM - Total Destruction Demolition Derby $5 Admission

TUESDAY, AUGUST 2 DOLLAR DAY - ADMISSION ONLY $1.00 Grandstand Events 12:00 PM - New York Sire Stakes Harness Racing 7:30 PM - Fire Service and School Band Parade, Fireworks

Entertainment Tent 11:00 AM - Buffalo Barfield 12:00 PM - The Promise Land 4:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 6:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 7:00 PM - Teen Karaoke Qualifier

Entertainment Tent 11:00 AM - Buffalo Barfield 12:00 PM - Dirt Road Express Band 4:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 6:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 7:00 PM - Sundown Band General Attractions 8:00 AM - Gates Open - buildings open at 10:00 AM 10:00 AM - 4-H Goat Show 10 AM - 12 PM - 4-H Rabbit Show & Showmanship 12:00 PM - Gillette Shows Midway Carnival Opens 1-3 PM - 4-H Community Service Sewing Activities - Martin Hall 2:00 PM - 4-H Dairy Showmanship 3-4 PM - 4-H Preparing Healthy Snacks – Martin Hall 6-8 PM - 4-H Science Activities – Martin Hall WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3 GILLETTE SHOWS PAY-ONE-PRICE 5 - 10 PM Grandstand Events 9:00 AM - Catskill Garden Tractor Pull 7:00 PM - Figure 8 Demolition Derby & Rollover Competition $5 Admission Entertainment Tent 11:00 AM - Buffalo Barfield 12:00 PM - Open Karaoke 4:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 7:00 PM - Adult Karaoke Qualifier General Attractions 9:00 AM - 4-H Gymkhana Horse Show 9:00 AM - Open Draft/Mule/Driving Horse Show 9:30 AM - 4-H & Open Swine Show 10 AM-12 PM - 4-H Photo Activities - Martin Hall 11 AM-3 PM - Demonstrations in Floral Hall 12:00 PM - Gillette Shows Midway Carnival Opens 1:00 PM - 4-H Sheep Show 1:00 PM - 4-H Dairy Judging 1-3 PM - 4-H Community Service Sewing Activities – Martin Hall 3-4 PM - 4-H Preparing Healthy Snacks – Martin Hall 5:30 PM - 4-H Beef Showmanship and Beef Show 6 - 8 PM - 4-H Public Presentations – Martin Hall 6 - 8 PM - 4-H Science Activities – Martin Hall 7:30 PM - Cow Chip Bingo in the Show Ring

General Attractions 9:00 AM - 4-H Western Horse Show 9:30 AM - 4-H & Open Dairy Show, Holstein, Milking Shorthorn, and Brown Swiss 10 AM-12 PM - 4-H Photo Activities – Martin Hall 11:00 AM (start) - Wagon Rides by Draft Horse Barn 11:00 AM - Open Rabbit Show 12:00 PM - Gillette Shows Midway Carnival Opens 1-3 PM - Community Service Sewing Activities – Martin Hall 1-4 PM - Demonstrations in Floral Hall 3-4 PM - Preparing Healthy Snacks – Martin Hall 5:30 PM - Open Sheep Show 6-8 PM - 4-H Science Activities – Martin Hall 7:00 PM - 4-H Clothing & Textiles Revue – Martin Hall FRIDAY, AUGUST 5 – AGRICULTURE DAY Grandstand Events 10:00 AM - Antique and Out of Field Tractor Pull 7:00 PM - Shootout Productions Sanctioned Truck Pull $5 Admission Entertainment Tent 11:00 AM - Buffalo Barfield 12:00 PM - Dirt Road Express Band 4:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 6:00 PM - American Idol’s Ethan Harris 7:00 PM - Jason Wicks Band 8:00 PM - American Idol Finalist Bucky Covington General Attractions 9:00 AM - 4-H English Horse Show 9:30 AM - 4-H & Open Dairy Show, Jersey, Ayrshire, and Guernsey 10 AM - 12 PM - 4-H Photo Activities – Martin Hall 11:00 AM (start) - Wagon Rides by Draft Horse Barn 12:00 PM - Gillette Shows Midway Carnival Opens 12-4 PM - Demonstrations in Floral Hall 1-3 PM - 4-H Community Service Sewing Activities – Martin Hall 3-4 PM - 4-H Preparing Healthy Snacks – Martin Hall 4:00 PM - Open Beef Show 6-8 PM - 4-H Science Activities – Martin Hall

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 – CHILDRENS DAY BIKE GIVEAWAY & GAMES; GILLETTE SHOWS PAY-ONE-PRICE RIDES 5 - 10 PM Grandstand Events 10:00 AM - Hay Stacking Competition 1:00 PM - 100 Bicycle Giveaway Registration 3:00 PM - 100 Bicycle Giveaway 7:00 PM - Otsego County Fair Truck and Semi Pull $5 Admission Entertainment Tent 11:00 AM - Buffalo Barfield 12:00 PM - 12 and Under Karaoke Contest 3:00 PM - Zoe Zumba 4:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 6:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield 7:00 PM - Adult and Teen Karaoke Finals General Attractions 8:30 AM - 4th Annual 5K Benefit Run 8:30 AM - Open Gymkhana 10:00 AM - Hay Stacking Competition 10 AM - 12 PM - 4-H Photo Activities – Martin Hall 11:00 AM (start) - Wagon Rides by Draft Horse Barn 12:00 PM - Gillette Shows Midway Carnival Opens 1:00 PM - Bike Giveaway Registration 1:00 PM - Livestock Parade of Champions 1-3 PM - 4-H Community Service Sewing Activities – Martin Hall 2:00 PM - 4-H Public Presentations – Martin Hall 3:00 PM - Bike Giveaway 3:00 PM - 4-H Livestock Auction 3-4 PM - 4-H Preparing Healthy Snacks – Martin Hall 5:00 PM - Kiddie Pedal Power Tractor Pull 5:00 PM - Supreme Showman 6-8 PM - 4-H Science Activities – Martin Hall 7:00 PM - 4-H Variety Show – Martin Hall SUNDAY, AUGUST 7 – GILLETTE SHOWS PAY-ONE-PRICE RIDES 12 - 5 PM Grandstand Events 1:00 PM - Total Destruction Demolition Derby $5 Admission 6:00 PM - Total Destruction Demolition Derby $5 Admission Entertainment Tent 11:00 AM - Buffalo Barfield 11:00 PM - Buffalo Barfield General Attractions 8:00 AM - Open English & Western Horse Show 9:00 AM - Open Goat Show 12:00 PM - Gillette Shows Midway Carnival Opens 1:00 PM - Dessert Contest in Floral Hall 2-4:30 PM - Demonstrations in Floral Hall 1-30 PM - 4-H Community Service Sewing Activities – Martin Hall 4:00 PM - Floral Hall Cake Walk 5:00 PM - Chain Saw Art Auction

The fair schedule is subject to change at any time. The complete schedule is being finalized. More details are being added regularly, so check back often!

5


6

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

THE DAILY STAR

From the

Scrapbook

vided The for Otsego pro from the Opportunities ral scrapbooks ve se h it w ar St Daily some highlights e ar e er H . ry to agency’s his 0 years: from the past 5

Upcoming Otsego County Chamber Events:

SICILY, ITALY

THE LAND OF ANCIENT HISTORY AND RUGGED NATURAL BEAUTY OCTOBER 1-9, 2016

$2,949

from AIR & LAND 9 DAYS, 7 NIGHTS INCLUDING HOTELS, MEALS, DAY TRIPS AND AIRFARE FROM NEW YORK JFK

Early-Bird Special!

,949 $3,049, $2 Hurry, at this sell the trip will out quickly.

2016. by April 29, if reserved price

Our Mission To continually improve the overall business climate in the region; to strive for an atmosphere which attracts investment; to build a positive, forward-thinking business community; and to partner with government, groups, individuals and institutions. 189 Main Suite # 201 189 Street, Main Street Oneonta, New York 13820

607-432-4500 http://otsegocc.com/

OFO Quality of Life OCC Award Recipient

Thank you OFO from all of us at the chamber! We are amazed by all you offer to our community!

Sicily is eventful, exotic, intriguing and fascinating in every aspect. The biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily captivates from the start with its legendary tales, art, history and time-honored traditions. On Sicily, travelers can embrace the island’s mystique...from the fascinating city of Palermo, the enchanted beauty of Taormina and the majestic ruins of the ancient Greek city of Agrigento, to the charming fishing village of Cefalu, historic ports of Messina, and archeological treasures of Syracuse, plus much more! Come let the magic of Sicily envelop you today!

Join the Chamber for a group tour to Sicily, Italy. The Land of Ancient History & Rugged Natural Beauty. For more details and reservations contact: Barbara Ann Heegan at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce E-mail: baheegan@otsegocc.com • Telephone: (607) 432-4500

Member of

Member of

30th Annual

Reservations can also be made on our online booking engine www.centralholidayswest.com/booking. The group booking code is: B002028

Golf Classic

Thursday, August 11 Oneonta Country Club Country Club Road, Oneonta 11:30 am – Registration and Lunch 1 pm – 4-person Scramble * Portion of proceeds to benefit the Bassett Cancer Institute Mobile Screening Coach *

To sign up for these Chamber activities & learn more about us, contact President & CEO Barbara Ann Heegan at 607-432-4500, ext. 202. Part of the proceeds to benefit the Bassett Mobile Screening Coach


THE DAILY STAR

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

7

OPPORTUNITIES FOR OTSEGO: FACTS AND FIGURES Mission: To be the leader in developing innovative solutions that promote healthy lives, thriving families, and caring communities. Agency History: Opportunities for Otsego has been dedicated to mission of Community Action — change people’s lives, stimulate hope, and make communities a better place to live — since 1966.

Milestones: 1966 Opportunities for Otsego is incorporated on July 11 1966 First offices are located in the basement of the Otsego County Courthouse 1967 The first Head Start center opens 1975 Weatherization Assistance Program grant awarded 1979 Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services begin 1980 Offices move to 32 Main Street, Oneonta 1983 Rape Crisis Services (RCS) joins Opportunities for Otsego 1991 Aid to Battered Women (ABW) merges with Opportunities for Otsego 1992 Offices move to the newly constructed building at 3 West Broadway, Oneonta 1995 RCS and ABW merge to form the “Violence Intervention Program” 1997 Community Connections County Food Bank opens 1999 The Children’s Center drop-in daycare center opens at the Otsego County Family Court building 2000 Building Healthy Families initiates services for at-risk families 2001 Early Head Start home visiting and center-based services begin 2003 Opportunities for Otsego initiates Wheels to Work 2004 Ribbon-cutting at the opening of the homeless shelter 2012 Energy Services expands its fee-for-service program

BY THE NUMBERS

Fiscal Year 2016 budget: $8,239,373 Employee count: 170 employees (139 full-time; 9 part-time; 22 substitute) Tripartite board: The Community Services Block Grant Act requires that Community Action Agencies’ boards of directors be composed of 1/3 representatives from the private sector; 1/3 elected public officials (or their representatives); and 1/3 low-income individuals or representatives of organizations that serve the poor. Individuals served: 8,743 individuals encompassing 2,785 households Fifty-nine percent of families served live at or below the 100% Federal Poverty Limit; 60% of households live in rental housing; 39% of persons benefitting from agency services are under 17 years of age; 28% of individuals did not have health insurance at the time of intake. Program locations: Cherry Valley; Cooperstown (3); Laurens; Milford; Morris; Oneonta (7); Richfield Springs (2); Schenevus; Unadilla; and Worcester.

PARTNERSHIPS Otsego County Department of Social Services The City of Oneonta New York State Police Otsego County Sherriff The State University of New York at Oneonta Hartwick College Bassett Healthcare Network Otsego County Child Advocacy Center

Otsego County Public School Districts Otsego Rural Housing Association Prevent Child Abuse New York The United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties Family Planning of South Central New York CDO Workforce Investment Board Friends of Recovery – Delaware and Otsego Counties Leatherstocking Dental Group


8

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

THE DAILY STAR

From the

Scrapbook

The Otsego provided r fo s ie it n u rt o m the Opp scrapbooks fro l ra ve se h it w lights Daily Star e are some high er H . ry to is h ’s agency 0 years: from the past 5

THANK YOU OPPORTUNITIES FOR OTSEGO FOR YOUR MANY YEARS IN CARING AND HELPING OUR COMMUNITY

Your Trusted FREE Source For All Your ESTIMATES Heating & Plumbing Needs.

George McLain, CEO Taxes, Bookkeeping & Payroll In Business Since 1966

• Hot Water Heaters • Hydro-Jetting • Boilers • Furnaces

We can help you become more energy efficient with our high quality Heating Systems! *Save Energy, Save Money and get a REBATE - Call for details

229 Chestnut Street • Oneonta 607-432-4799 or 607-433-1848 gregoryplumbingandheating.com

Proudly Serving The Community For 70 Years!

Valerie McCain

George McLain, CEO

(607) 967-8858

(607) 432-8858

www.georgemclaintaxes.com

www.georgemclaintaxes.com

1 West Main Street BAINBRIDGE, NY 13733

75 Chestnut Street ON60NTA, NY 13820


THE DAILY STAR

9

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

Feb. 22, 2008

Homeless in Otsego: Survey finds at least 127 By Tom Grace The Daily Star

Ja i m e T u r n e r n eve r planned to be homeless. “It just turned out that way, and believe me, it can happen to anybody,’’ she said. She and her husband, Rashad Turner, and their 7-month-old daughter moved to Oneonta from Alabama several weeks ago. “We wanted to get back to the area and be closer to family,’’ said Turner, who attended school in Walton. “We thought we’d move into my sister’s apartment until we got jobs up here, but after we arrived, the landlord wouldn’t let us stay.’’ Low on money, the Turners contacted Opportunities For Otsego and were accepted into Oneonta’s homeless shelter, she said. “It’s nothing like what I’d

heard about; it’s really very nice,’’ said Turner, 28. “We have a living room, two bedrooms, our own bathroom and we share a kitchen with everyone.’’ The Turners have been there about a month, onethird of their allotted 90 days, she said. “I think we’re going to be fine. Rashad got a job at Hannaford (Supermarket) and we’ve found day care for Ariana. I plan to start looking for a job Monday, she said.’’ Without the shelter, however, she, her husband and daughter would have been desperate. “The rents up here are a lot higher than in Alabama, and we weren’t ready for that,’’ she said. “It’s bad when you have no place to go.’’ The Turners are not alone. Ac c o r d i n g t o Kat h i e

Greenblatt, executive director of Catholic Charities of Delaware & Otsego Counties, at least 127 people in Otsego County were homeless as of Jan. 30, when the Coalition for Housing Solutions of Chenango and Otsego Counties conducted a survey. “We went to laundromats, feeding programs, Wal-Mart, places where we thought we might find homeless people. And we did,’’ she said. “It’s not just here; it’s all over the country, and it’s a shame,’’ Greenblatt said. Catholic Charities is lobbying state lawmakers on behalf of the homeless and impoverished, trying to increase allotments for needy families and individuals, she said. In Otsego County, the problem of finding affordable shelter is daunting Rashad and Jaime Turner hold their 7-month-old daughter, Ariana, in the kitchen of the See HOMELESS, Page 11 Opportunities For Otsego shelter on Depew Street in Oneonta.

April 17, 2015

Oct. 21, 2013

Marchers: Consent not ‘rocket science’ Area shines light on domestic violence

By Jessica reynolds The Daily Star

ONEONTA — “However we dress, wherever we go, ‘yes’ means ‘yes,’ and ‘no’ means ‘no’!” More than 150 college students and community members marched throughout the city chanting this phrase and others during the annual Take Back the Night event on Thursday. The event is sponsored by Opportunities for Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College and Family Planning Services of South Central New York. The goal is to raise awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault and violent crimes, to empower survivors and to send a message of solidarity, organizers said. As the sun set Thursday night, participants gathered in front of Milne Library at the State University College at Oneonta campus, where Rebecca Harrington, a health educator at SUNY Oneonta, and others kicked

By caThy B. Koplen Contributing Writer

Domestic violence has been called “the hidden crime,” but for some local officials, it’s very present indeed.  Lt. Douglas W. Brenner of the Oneonta City Police Department said in an

interview Friday that the department does not specifically track domestic violence calls, as information is not cataloged in those terms. But, speaking from experience, he said roughly one quarter of all calls answered by the Oneonta City Police Department concern See VIOLENCE, Page 11

Aug. 24, 2015

Gibson, OFO officials review Otsego County needs JULIE LEWIS | The Daily Star

Participants in the annual Take Back the Night March walk up Clinton Street in Oneonta on Thursday, April 17, 2015. off the program by speaking about the importance of consent. “Consent is not rocket science,” Harrington told the crowd. “When my young son has his friend over and he wants to play Ninja Turtles, we talk about how he

should ask his friend first if he also wants to play Ninja Turtles. I think about him 15 years from now and how he will have that clear idea of consent already within him.” It’s particularly important for men to make themselves

New Asbury Gardens • Garden Center • Landscape Services • Commercial & Residential Services We at Asbury Gardens would like to share with you a common desire for creative living that knows no boundaries. A desire that turns living into art. People with a love of beauty, a sense of color and line, and dedication to detail. A passion for perfection, and a burning desire to fashion their environment into something distinctly different, unique, and personal.

And we are amazed by all that O.F.O offers to our community. Thank you O.F.O for all you do!

Let our qualified & experienced team help you! 248 River St. Oneonta

607.432.8703

newasburygardens.com

aware of the issue, according to Elliot Ruggles, director of SUNY Oneonta’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. Although both men and women are sexually assaulted, the majority of these crimes See CONSENT, Page 11

denise richardson The Daily Star

ONEONTA — Otsego County is seeing problems tied to increased drug use and a lack of mental health services, including hospital beds for psychiatric care, a local congressman and Opportunities for Otsego officials agreed Monday. Officials reviewed

programs, from Head Start to weatherization, and Gibson said the agency’s programs provide a needed safety net to residents, plus a variety of resources toward educational and economic opportunities. Daniel Maskin, OFO executive director, thanked Gibson for his support of H.R. 1655, the Community See NEEDS, Page 11

The Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home * Gracious Living * Delicious Meals * Personal Care * Medication Assistance * Transportation * Community * Life Enrichment We respect Independence, value Creativity and embrace Life. Please come join us for a tour! Registered as an Eden Alternative Adult Home Visit our website at www.ClaraWelchThanksgivingHome.org

®


10

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

THE DAILY STAR

Car Seat Fitting Station at Delaware Opportunities

Did you know 4 out of 5 Car Seats are installed incorrectly. Has your car seat been checked by a Certified Technician? Call for an appointment 607-746-1700 35430 State Highway 10 Hamden, New York 13782

Reinhardt Home Heating is a proud supporter of Opportunities for Otsego

Fuel Oil • Gasoline • Kerosene • Diesel Fuel • Air Conditioning 24 Hr Emergency Service 365 Days/Year

Free Written Estimates for Heating Now offering Ethanol Free Systems Gasoline!

Car Seat will be replaced if necessary.

PLANNING IS YOUR BEST PROTECTION AGAINST THE UNEXPECTED Farmers is in the business of helping our customers get back where they belong when the unexpected happens. Emergency planning can help you prepare for life’s setbacks and to help restore your world to order when the unexpected happens. Undergoing a life change? Events like getting married or retiring require a change in life planning. How will you handle the high cost of college tuition, the hassle of buying a new car, the worries of buying a new home or moving? No insurance company offers more discounts than we do, and our industryleading Farmers Claim Department means you can count on us to be there when you need us. Anytime, day or night, just one call to (800) 435-7764 will help you restore your world to order - fast! Give me a call and I’ll give you more information on all the many products and discounts my Farmers agency offers, whether it’s auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance or something more specialized.

21 Railroad Ave Ste 2-1Cooperstown, NY 13326 PHONE NUMBERS Office: (607) 282-4430Fax: (607) 282-4433 M - F: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Sat: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm


THE DAILY STAR

CONSENT...

„ Continued from Page 9 are perpetrated against women. “I want to specially address the men tonight because I am one,” Ruggles began. “I’ve never had to explain to women why we need to take back the night. Almost all women are already well aware of what it feels like to be harassed or hit on when they walk down the street. That’s something not all guys have experienced, though.” After the opening presentation, the procession made its way toward Hartwick College. While walking, Benjamin Lerich, a SUNY Oneonta student and volunteer Emergency Medical Technician at the college, said men need to remember that every woman is someone’s sister, daughter, aunt, mother or grandmother. As an EMT, Lerich said, he has seen several patients who have told him in confidence that they were victims of sexual assault. “Because of it, they became very depressed,” Lerich said, “and very anxious. We shouldn’t pretend that sexual assault doesn’t happen on this campus or any other.” Lerich is passionate about the cause, he said, so much so that he has decided to start an on-campus group for men, which will focus on learning about consent and what it means. “We tend to focus on what potential victims can do so they aren’t harmed or assaulted,” Lerich said, “but what we really need to focus on is how to change

VIOLENCE...

„ Continued from Page 9 domestic violence. This corresponds with nationwide figures from the Centers for Disease Control, which reported in 2000 that 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. “Sometimes it is the same people calling us over and over again,” Brenner said. “Sometimes it is a new case. There have been a lot of changes to the way we handle these calls since I started in 1988. Used to be we would try to counsel them, talk to them. If the victim did not want to press charges, then there was nothing we could do. Now, if there is cause, we can make an arrest.” Brenner said if there are visible bruises, scratches or marks of any kind that correlate to the story told by the people involved, then an arrest can be made. Sometimes the violence is mutual and both parties are arrested. “We try to help the victim any way we can,” Brenner said. “If it is a bad situation, we will call OFO (Opportunities For Otsego). They are great at responding.” In observance of October as Domestic Violence Month, Opportunities for Otsego has been hard at work to bring “the hidden crime” out into the light. One of the missions OFO’s Violence Prevention Program is to educate people about intimate partner abuse. The program is constantly working on new ways to help people understand that individuals have the right to their bodies, but without consent, no one else has the right to touch them. Some of VIP’s current campaigns include “No Means No,” which describes how to handle a possible date rape situation by being proactive; “There are no Bystanders,” offering information on how to prevent rape on another person; and “Break the Silence,” a celebration of surviving and an honoring of those who lost their lives to domestic violence. On Thursday, OFO will present “In Her Shoes,” an interactive simulation that includes scenarios from the real lives of women with abusive partners. (The event is open only to those who have registered in advance.) Part of VIP’s mission means being there to help victims of abuse in all its forms.

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

It’s something that’s really important to talk about. People need to be more aware, and events like this help that to happen. Allison O’Mara, a SUNY Oneonta student“

potential perpetrators. There are some men on campus who are mature about it. But, obviously, there are others — who I would actually refer to as boys — who make rape jokes and think it’s funny.” Justin Martin, a Hartwick student and member of Alpha Sigma Phi, said it’s especially important that men are involved in awareness events such as Take Back the Night to show their support for women and make it clear that they will not stand for sexual assault. Martin said fraternities are sometimes wrongfully associated with not caring or adding to the problem. “I think more fraternities showed up this year, and that’s really good to see,” he reflected. When the crowd of walkers arrived at Hartwick College, they were greeted by someone who said she knows firsthand the pain of an abusive and violent relationship. Heather Sims, a junior at Hartwick College, spoke to the crowd about a past relationship, during which, she said, her boyfriend repeatedly raped her and was abusive. When he tried to run her over with a car on her birthday, Sims said, she knew she had to escape. As participators reached the Kim Muller Plaza downtown for a candlelight vigil, the crowd grew silent and

listened as Nicole Murdocca — an educator with Opportunities for Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program — recognized some of the local lives affected or lost because of violent crime. Two of the people Murdocca mentioned were Tifanne Wells, who was killed by her boyfriend in March at age 44, and Jennifer Ramsaran, who was murdered by her husband in December 2012. Students looked at one another, at the luminaries and at the ground during a moment of silence observed to recognize these victims and others. Some of the students hugged and huddled together. “It’s something that’s really important to talk about,” said Allison O’Mara, a SUNY Oneonta student. “People need to be more aware, and events like this help that to happen.” “It also helps people who have been affected because they can speak up and tell their stories and know they are supported by others,” said Amanda Reichardt, another SUNY Oneonta student. Sims smiled after the vigil and gave a word of advice to those who have been sexually abused or assaulted. “Don’t lose hope,” she said. “And accept the love you truly deserve, and nothing less.”

“‘Intimate partner violence’ is a term that covers many different scenarios, from gay partners to boyfriend and girlfriend situations,” said Will Rivera, program manager for Opportunities For Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program. “Abuse comes in many different forms. There is financial abuse, where one partner withholds information and access to the household budget and tries to control the other partner by not allowing access to money or activities. This goes along with trying to isolate the victim. The person abusing is making it clear he is in charge and if things don’t go his way, the abuse can get more intense.” Rivera was quick to note that, despite his use of the male pronoun, domestic violence isn’t limited to male-on-female crime. “I say he, but it doesn’t always have to be a male perpetrator,” Rivera said, “although it is a male more often than not.” During October, OFO has invited area businesses to “paint” their business purple and display a purple ribbon to show support for those who have survive domestic violence. In addition, these business display information about the Violence Prevention Programs available. Rivera said he gave out strings of purple lights, purple ribbons and an information flyer with a bar code to dozens of businesses in Oneonta, including The Green Earth. “I have seen it (abuse) and it is terrible,” said Lisa Cooper, daytime manager at The Green Earth. “It is not something that people are really that aware of though, because it goes on behind closed doors most of the time. People here have to work so hard just to make ends meet. It is hard. And then, when you throw in alcohol and drugs – then things can get ugly. I have seen what happens. People need to know there is someone out there who really cares, someone who can help them get out of that abusive situation. They have to get help to break the cycle of abuse.” “ We n e v e r j u d g e , ” Rivera said. “We always support whatever decision the victim makes. We give them information and we advocate for them through the legal system. We have a 24/7 hotline, counseling services and a fully staffed,

secure safe-house where we can accommodate up to nine individuals. In our advocacy program we help them navigate the system — orders of protection, criminal court proceedings, custody and child support. We also have referrals to other agencies that can help with money, temporary housing, education, and other things.” Rivera said in 2012 there were 1,462 calls made to the hotline, 111 new cases were opened that had no former history of reported domestic violence, 3,112 counseling sessions, 973 legal advocacy service cases, 2,615 referrals to other agencies and 66 people seeking temporary shelter in the safe house. When a call comes into the hotline, trained individuals help the person navigate decisions. If there is a crises occurring as the person is on the phone, a call is immediately placed to 911. Often the victim is calling after a violent incident. “Sometimes there is a call from the hospital,” Rivera said. “If that is the case, an advocate will go to the hospital. If the caller has been raped and has not gone to the hospital, we recommend they go right away to get checked and to collect any information necessary. We meet them there.” If the person calling wants to leave an abusive situation, but cannot find the resolve, the crises team will help them put into place a safety plan that includes pre-packed bags and a location that is safe. In addition, it includes a list of things, such as medicines, toiletries, food, plans for children and pets as well as a trusted individual that can help the victim with their immediate needs or to offer them moral support. “Some people will not leave,” Rivera said. “They are afraid because of financial insecurities or because they are afraid they may lose their children, or they do not have alternative housing.” Rivera said it takes between five and seven times attempting to leave a violent situation before many victims can leave for good. For more information about the programs available through Opportunities For Otsego, call the main office at 433-8038 or visit www.ofoinc.org. The number for the Victims Intervention Program 24-hour hotline is 432-4855.

HOMELESS... „ Continued from Page 9

because rents are kept high by demand from students and tourists, according to Rep. Kathy Clark, R-Otego, chairwoman of Otsego County’s Human Services Committee. With two colleges in Oneonta, students occupy many of the city’s rental units. And the county’s booming youth baseball camps draw thousands of tourists, many of whom rent houses by the week during the summer, Clark noted. “It’s a problem for renters, and we’re trying to look at all sides of it,’’ said Clark, who took office last month. “It’s hard to blame homeowners when they can make good money renting out their houses to tourists.’’ The area needs more affordable places to live, she said, and they should be situated prudently. “Transportation is a big part of it. You don’t want to build something unless people are going to be able to get from there to the services they need,’’ she said. Joyce Boyd, Otsego County’s acting Social Services Commissioner, said that state-set allotments for homeless people are unrealistically low.

NEEDS...

„ Continued from Page 9

Economic Opportunity Act of 2015. The bill for the 114th Congress in 2015-16 was introduced in the House of Representatives in March and referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill would amend the Community Service Block Grant Act to revise the Act and reauthorize it through fiscal year 2023. OFO’s budget is $8.2 million for 2016, according to a fact sheet. The agency, which aims to alleviate poverty, has 170 employees and serves more than 8,740 individuals encompassing 2,785 households. Other OFO services include the Violence Intervention Program, Building

11

Duncan Davie, spokesman for state Sen. Seward, R-Milford, noted that public assistance rates have not been raised in years. “There’s nothing in the governor’s budget to address that,’’ he said. Under state guidelines, the Public Assistance program will give each qualifying single person $337 a month, of which $200 is to be used for housing. A family of four gets $666 a month, with $291 earmarked for shelter. Duncan Davie, spokesman for state Sen. Seward, R-Milford, noted that public assistance rates have not been raised in years. “ Th e r e ’ s n o t h i n g i n the governor’s budget to address that,’’ he said. “If the governor had a proposal to raise the allowance and could show how he can pay for it, Senator Seward would be inclined to support it. But that would have to come from the governor.’’ Boyd said the current rates are so low that “people are forced to move in with friends and relatives.’’ Susan Ray, 38, her three kids and her husband are homeless, living with relatives in Pittsfield. The Rays lost their home in early January when the

Other OFO services include the Violence Intervention Program, Building Healthy Families and Universal Pre-Kindergarten, plus housing and employmentoriented programs. Healthy Families and Universal Pre-Kindergarten, plus housing and employment-oriented programs. The agency was founded in 1966. Gibson told OFO officials that broader issues include job availability, increasing wages through economic development and

apartment building they were living in, at the corner of Genesee and North Main streets in New Berlin, was condemned. “We’re staying at my brother-in-law’s place, and we’ve been getting help from my family,’’ she said. But being homeless has not been easy. “You can’t relax when you don’t have a home, no matter how nice people are being,’’ she said. “I don’t ever want to go through this again.’’ The Rays may soon be able to move into a home on Railroad Avenue in New Berlin, keeping their children in Unadilla Valley Central School, she said. The home will become available in about three weeks, she said, which ordinarily is a short time, though it seems like an eternity for someone who is homeless. “It’s a rent-to-own situation, and we want to do it,’’ she said. “That way, no one can ever tell us to get out again.’’

revitalizing the middleclass. He asked OFO board members from the private sector for feedback. Bryce Frederick, vice president of the OFO board and a supervisor at New York Central Mutual, told Gibson that attracting and retaining “young talent” to the company are challenges. NYCM looks to educational partnerships with colleges, he said. Gibson said positive developments in Otsego County include rising sales tax revenues and an increasing numbers of farms. Key strengths in the county include tourism industry, small businesses and secondary and higher education institutions, he said. “Overall,” Gibson said, “I’m optimistic about the future here.”


12

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2016

THE DAILY STAR


FOCUS - Opportunities For Otsego 2016